In an attempt to keep up with increased competition and shortening of product lifecycles, many companies are starting to implement the methods and principles that are offered by Lean product development. This paradigm of product development has mainly been described in management literature, and there are few industrial cases investigated outside Toyota. Existing literature points towards the Visual planning method as a good way of coordinating product development work, and is a method commonly used as a first step toward implementing Lean product development. This paper investigates the benefits and drawbacks of Lean Visual planning methods at three Swedish industrial companies. Benefits identified are efficient communication, shared understanding of the status of the work, ability to prioritize tasks and efficient leveling of workload. Complications associated with the method include difficulty of using it in geographically scattered teams, to store historical information and to see causal links between activities. The conclusion from this paper is that Visual planning constitutes a method that is useful for product development teams that need efficient ways of communicating and coordinating team work.
TEKNIK OCH TEKNOLOGIER -- Maskinteknik (hsv//swe)
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY -- Mechanical Engineering (hsv//eng)